A combined TMS-EEG study of short-latency afferent inhibition in the motor and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

Yoshihiro Noda, Robin F H Cash, Reza Zomorrodi, Luis Garcia Dominguez, Faranak Farzan, Tarek K. Rajji, Mera S. Barr, Robert Chen, Zafiris J. Daskalakis, Daniel M. Blumberger

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Combined transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) enables noninvasive neurophysiological investigation of the human cortex. A TMS paradigm of short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI) is characterized by attenuation of the motor-evoked potential (MEP) and modulation of N100 of the TMS-evoked potential (TEP) when TMS is delivered to motor cortex (M1) following median nerve stimulation. SAI is a marker of cholinergic activity in the motor cortex; however, the SAI has not been tested from the prefrontal cortex. We aimed to explore the effect of SAI in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). SAI was examined in 12 healthy subjects with median nerve stimulation and TMS delivered to M1 and DLPFC at interstimulus intervals (ISIs) relative to the individual N20 latency. SAI in M1 was tested at the optimal ISI of N20 + 2 ms. SAI in DLPFC was investigated at a range of ISI from N20 + 2 to N20 + 20 ms to explore its temporal profile. For SAI in M1, the attenuation of MEP amplitude was correlated with an increase of TEP N100 from the left central area. A similar spatiotemporal neural signature of SAI in DLPFC was observed with a marked increase of N100 amplitude. SAI in DLPFC was maximal at ISI N20 + 4 ms at the left frontal area. These findings establish the neural signature of SAI in DLPFC. Future studies could explore whether DLPFC-SAI is neurophysiological marker of cholinergic dysfunction in cognitive disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-948
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Combined tms-eeg study
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Short-latency afferent inhibition
  • Tms-evoked potentials

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